Ray, George Cather, 1907-
George P. Cather
Born to William and Emily Ann "Caroline" Smith Cather on 20 March 1847, George Perry Cather grew up in Frederick County, Virginia. He taught briefly at a public school in Frederick County and also served as a deputy sheriff. He married Frances (Franc) Amanda Smith on 26 June 1873, and the same year the couple moved to Nebraska. Other family members, such as his parents and brother, also moved to Nebraska. Cather filed a homestead claim near the towns of Bladen and Blue Hill in Webster County, within the Catherton township, which was named after him. He served as an officer for the township and on the Board of Commissioners for Webster County while continuing his work as a lawyer. In the late 1890s, Cather served on a committee to review the work of the County Treasurer. As a member of the Board of Directors of School District 38 in Webster County, Cather became District Treasurer. George P. and Franc raised five children, Grosvenor Phillips (G. P.), Blanche, Carrie, and twins Frank and Oscar. George P. Cather died on 2 February 1938.
Franc Smith Cather
Born on 5 October 1845, Frances Amanda Smith grew up in Hartford, Vermont. After her graduation from Mt. Holyoke in 1870, she acted as tutor in the Cone household in her hometown. The Cone's oldest daughter had been Franc's classmate at Mt. Holyoke and they hired Franc to tutor their two other children Kate and Charles. Franc also taught at the Winchester Female Institute, in Virginia. At the wedding of one her pupils, Jennie Cather, Franc met George P. Cather. Franc married Cather in Virginia on 26 June 1873, and in the autumn of that same year the couple moved to Nebraska. Franc Cather died on 29 April 1922.
G. P. Cather
G. P. Cather, born on 12 August 1883, grew up near Bladen in Webster County, Nebraska. He lived in Grand Island and attended preparatory college there during the years 1898 to 1903. His sisters Blanche and Carrie also attended Grand Island College at this time. He then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska between 1904 and 1905. He left Lincoln in order to homestead land in western Nebraska near Ogallala. In 1908, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served sixteen months on the U.S.S. West Virginia. After his honorable discharge, Cather returned to Bladen and married Myrtle Bartlett on 8 June 1910. The couple raised wheat on a farm in Webster County. In 1914, he joined Company K of the Fifth Nebraska National Guard Regiment of Blue Hill, Nebraska. Cather served as quartermaster sergeant for Company K at Llano Grande, Texas, along the Mexican border, until the guard unit returned in February 1917. After the outbreak of World War I, Cather attended officers training camp and received his second lieutenant commission on 16 August 1917 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He left for Europe from Hoboken, New Jersey, on the U.S.S. Manchuria. After his arrival 24 September 1917, Cather began additional training. He later served at the front as a lieutenant of Company A, 26th Infantry. Cather died on 28 May 1918 while fighting along the Marne in France and became the first Nebraska officer to die in battle. Many Cather scholars assert that the letters G. P. wrote to his mother, Franc, inspired Willa Cather to create the character Claude Wheeler, who appears in her novel entitled One of Ours.
George Cather Ray
George Cather Ray, born on 9 November 1907, is the son of W. Wallace and Blanche Cather Ray. His grandparents were George P. and Franc Cather. George married Elizabeth Armstrong Ray. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1930 and received a bachelor's degree in law (LLB) in 1931. Ray also took classes at the Harvard Business School. The University of Nebraska awarded him a Juris Doctorate in 1969. Ray entered the United States Navy in November of 1940 and served during World War II. He trained at the Navy Training Program in St. Louis, Missouri from Dec. 1941 until March 1942. He then had command of the U.S.S. Banner. He died in October 1972.